Unlocking The Value of Personal Data: From Collection To Usage

Executive Summary

Our world is changing. It is complex, hyperconnected, and increasingly driven by insights derived from big data. And the rate of change shows no sign of slowing. Nor does the volüme of data show any sign of shrinking. But, the economic and social value of big data does not come just from its quantity. It also comes from its quality – the ways in which individual bits of data can be interconnected to reveal new insights with the potential to transform business and society. Fully tapping that potential holds much promise, and much risk. By themselves, technology and data are neutral. It is their use that can both generate great value and create significant harm, sometimes simultaneously.
This requires a rethink of traditional approaches to data governance, particularly a shift from focusing away from trying to control the data itself to focusing on the uses of data. It is up to the individuals and institutions of various societies to govern and decide how to unlock the value – both economic and social – and ensure suitable protections.

As part of the multiyear initiative Rethinking Personal Data, the World Economic Forum hosted an ongoing multistakeholder dialogue on personal data throughout 2012 (See Figure 1 for more details). This dialogue invited perspectives from the US, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East and involved representatives of various social, commercial, governmental and technical sectors, who shared their views on the changes occurring within the personal data ecosystem and how these changes affect the collective ability to uphold core principles. The dialogue also addressed key regional legislative and policy approaches, particularly the proposed European Commission Data Protection Regulation and the US Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights. The global dialogue centred on a set of foundational principles that are familiar across a broad range of cultures and jurisdictions. The dialogue was based primarily on three clusters building on the 1980 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Privacy Principles:
• Protection and security

• Accountability

• Rights and responsibilities for using personal data

This document captures some of the key outcomes of the dialogue. It highlights areas that need to be resolved in order to achieve a sustainable balance of growth and protection in the use of personal data.

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